labor cost to install ceramic tile per square foot

$6.25 – $16.00 / Sqft Installed

The cost range to install ceramic tile floor is between $6.25 to $16.00 per square foot. If you have to have an old tile floor removed first, expect the cost to be on the higher side.

Average Cost of Tile Floor Installation

The average cost of installed ceramic tile flooring is $11.85 per square foot, which includes a mid-range tile and installation from a reputable flooring contractor in your area.

When hiring a tile flooring professional, expect them to include the removal of all old ceramic tile and subfloor preparation to include minor repairs. Installation of the new tile, all grouting as needed, disposal and clean up after the job is finished.

Average Do It Yourself Cost

$5.10 / Square Foot

Average Contractor Installed Cost

$11.85 / Square Foot

Typical Cost Average

$9.00 – $13.50 / Square Foot

Last Updated: Wednesday, January 12, 2022

Overview of a Ceramic Tile Flooring

A new ceramic tile floor updates any room. The tile is durable, impervious to moisture and easy to care for. Among the advantages are a wide range of tile styles, colors and sizes. They can be blended too. Your many options give you the opportunity to customize the appearance of your tile floor.

This Costimate includes comprehensive information about ceramic tile floor prices. The factors are explained. They will help you narrow down the cost of your tile flooring. We’ve also gathered ceramic flooring costs from other estimate sites and encouraged other homeowners to share the price they paid for their tile floor.

Project Cost Details

Ceramic Tile Cost Factors

There are many factors that affect ceramic tile pricing and the cost of installation. Consider your job in light of these tile floor cost factors and how they’ll affect the total price you pay.

  • PEI Rating – The Porcelain Enamel Institute ratings assess how well the tile will handle foot traffic. Ratings are I through IV+, and those with III ($) and IV ($$) ratings are most commonly used for residential flooring. The PEI Rating should be listed on each box of tile or in the online sales information.
  • Water Absorption – The level of glazing on a tile determines how resistant to absorption it is and where it can be installed. Resistant tile, called semi-vitreous or vitreous, costs a little more than non-vitreous tile but must be used in showers and other areas that might get wet.
  • Tile Size – Large tile costs a little more per square foot than small tile. However, the real difference is in labor costs. Large tile takes less labor, since each tile covers more area. Generally, you’ll save money by buying larger tile sizes.
  • Floor Preparation – When the subfloor must be installed or repaired, cost will rise by as much as $2 per square foot.
  • Size of the Job – Large jobs cost less per square foot than small jobs.
  • Job Difficulty – Confined spaces, multiple obstacles like bathroom fixtures, tiling stairs and similar difficulties add to the cost of installation labor. Laying tile diagonally can increase the cost of labor too.
  • Old Floor Removal – The cost to remove old flooring ranges from less than $1 for vinyl, laminate or carpeting to about $2 for wood, tile and other materials. Check here for the cost to remove existing tile.
  • Cost of Living – Tile and tile installation costs are affected by the cost of living, as all consumer products and services are. Cost of living is highest in large metropolitan areas, especially in the East and Northeast. Cost of living is low to average in rural areas and small towns, especially in the Midwest and South.
  • Mosaic Work – While not common, creating mosaics or sunbursts and other complex designs will price the job beyond the ranges given above. Home flooring Pros has a great guide on choosing the right tile pattern for your space.

Cost of Installation Supplies

Are you thinking about DIY tile installation? Here are the supplies you’ll need and their cost. Even if you’re hiring a pro, this will give you an idea of where the money for materials will be spent.

  • $1 – $5.75 per square foot | Ceramic tile, including porcelain, rated for use on floors. Porcelain costs $1.50 to $2.50 more per square foot than standard ceramic tile.
  • $11 – $15 per sheet | Cement backerboard made specifically as subfloor for tile. It is sold in 3’x5’ sheets, so about $1 per square foot.
  • $15 – $22 per bag | Thinset tile mortar, sold in 50lb bags. Coverage is 50 square feet per bag when spread with a trowel with ½” notches. It is up to 90 square feet when applied with a ¼” notch trowel.
  • $1 – $2 per square foot | Miscellaneous accessories including backerboard screws, tile spacers, caulk, etc. Material and tool lists are available are available from home improvement stores and websites. This list from the Home Depot is a list for subfloor preparation.
  • $50 – $150 | Miscellaneous safety gear and hand tools, based on the quality of the products you choose and what you might already have. These include safety goggles, hearing protection, gloves, straight edge, tape measure, notched trowel, grout float, manual tile nippers, bucket and sponges.
  • $55+ | Drill and mixing paddle (can be rented)
  • $185+ | Powered tile saw with tile blade (saw can be rented, but not the blade)

Permits, Inspection, Related Costs and Installation Time

Permits and Inspection Cost

  • $0 | No permit is required for this work.

Note: If you need to remove the toilet or other plumbing or electrical fixtures, it may be required in your area to have them replaced by a licensed professional. Always check local code and how it affects your project.

Related Costs and Installation Time

The list above shows material costs. This section details tile installation costs, which outweigh material costs because installing tile is detailed and time-consuming.

  • $4.50 – $8.00 per square foot | Labor Cost to Install Tile on Floors.

Any necessary repairs to the underlying floor must be made. Then, the tile backer board must be installed. The tile field is then carefully laid out to ensure that each row is perfectly straight.

Tile spacers are used for the placement of each tile and to determine the width of the spaces between tiles. Then mortar is mixed and spread, and the tiles are individually set. Grout is then mixed and spread between each tile in the floor. Finally, the entire floor is cleaned up.

Tile Floor Install Time Schedule

Expect your tile floor to take a day to a week to finish. Here are the details for a two-person crew on jobs up to about 500 square feet.

  • 2-4 hours | Remove old flooring and subfloor, if applicable
  • 3-6 hours | Install backer board subfloor
  • 2-4 hours | Lay out the installation using straight-edge lines and spacers
  • 1-3 days | Install the tile, grout, and clean the floor

DIY or Hire a Pro?

There are a few challenges to tiling a floor, but they can be overcome if you have good skills and the patience to carefully lay out the tile field before starting to lay tile. Having the right backer board, mortar and grout are essential too.

With the help of a friend with tile experience, I tiled a large laundry area with 12″ square tiles. The results were good, though a couple tiles are imperfectly set. You have to know what you’re looking for to see the slight misalignment. Still, I’m happy with the cost savings in an area nobody but my family sees.

All said – I had to buy a special wet saw for specific cuts, and while I am more than happy with the results, I have a friend who owns a bathroom refinishing business, he pointed out a few areas that could have easily been improved upon with the knowledge and skill of a pro.

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Author S Krone

A lawyer never retires. So I would just say that I am not as active as I used to be. Now I simply dedicate myself to fishing, my hobby, and my grandchildren. For Business Finance News I write about legal aspects of mortgage policies, mostly regarding the rights of policyholders. I also have articles about personal injuries.

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